field: A field is a sub-division of a table. The 'Saint' table, for example, has (among others) a field for the saint's name, another for the saint's gender, and another for notes.

head-name: This is the current, or 'best' form of a place-name. A head-name is the name chosen to stand at the head of all other forms of the name. Every name either is or has a head-name. If the same name is used to label different features (Kilmartin is used both for a parish and for a settlement) each different use of the name is represented by a head-name.

The following are head-names:

  • All OS Explorer names
  • Name from alternative current OS maps but only when the name is not on the Explorer.
  • All parish names
  • Names, often a microtoponyms, documented in a non-OS source
  • Names collected orally.
  • Name which are no longer in use. This includes a) names which no longer occur anywhere, and b) names which exist attached to one object (a settlement for example), but whose use attached to another (a church for example) is no longer current, and c) names which are in use but only with an affix (eg Kilchoan Banks and Kilchoan Lodge exist, but Kilchoan - which is a head-name - does not).

NB Usually a place will have only one head-name associated with it, but there is a significant number of cases in which a place will have more than one head-name: when a place is named in two (or more) different languages, for example, or when more than one name has been used for a place over time.

historic form: This is a form of head-name used in the past and now obsolete. It is given as it is found in the source. If a historic form is found in a contracted form, the contraction will be expanded. This will be explained in the notes.

non-specific saint: This is a group of saints holding the same or related names. If a place-name is linked with the non-specific saint Findbarr, Bairrfind, Bairre, Uinniau, Finnén etc (ns) it means that it might commemorate a saint who held one of these names, or indeed a saint who held all of these names over time in various manifestations of an original single cult.

OS name: This is a name which appears on any OS map, including large-scale maps available on-line on digimap (subscription required) or

parish: A parish is a territorial unit whose precise meaning has altered over time but whose chief characteristic is that it was the area served by one main ecclesiastical centre, the parish church. Parishes are referred to in various ways on this web-site: if the term is used without qualification or is described as 'modern' it is a parish which existed in 1975 before local government re-organisation. Some medieval parishes still survived in 1975 in so far as their footprints remained more or less the same (eg Kilmartin KMR) though often their names have changed (eg Kilmalduff > Inveraray INA), but many medieval parishes are bigger or smaller (eg Kilmun XKN + Dunoon DOX = Dunoon & Kilmun DKM) than the 1975 territories. Medieval parishes which were split up or absorbed are described as 'former parishes', and always contain an X in their three-letter-abbreviation (TLA). In addition there are some former parishes which are neither medieval nor did they exist in 1975; they were created after the Reformation, but had gone by 1975.

table: A table is the main unit of storage for data in a relational database. Different kinds of data (on saints, on places, on place-names) are stored in different tables, but these can be linked in various ways. Each table will contain a number of fields.